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Teaching: 1 x 1.5 hour seminar per week.
Lectures: 5 mandatory lectures spread across the year (Term 1: Weeks 1 and 8; Term 2: Weeks 2, 5, and 9).
Total Contact Hours: 41
Module Duration: 2 terms (18 weeks) [30 CATS]
Engaging with novelists and novels from the popular to the high-brow, from the canonical to those often overlooked, this module explores the rise of the novel in the particular context of nineteenth-century Britain; responding to rapid social change and the correspondingly shifting understandings of class, gender, sexuality, nation and culture. The various themes and modes you will encounter and discuss along the way - image and text, paratexts, serialisation, nation building, gothic and the sensational, realism, social problems, world-building and more – will all be framed by our consideration of what a novel is and looks like in this period. Furthermore, what the novel was expected to be by its contemporaries, and is thought about in modern scholarship, how individual examples were published, how they were received and how that in turn shaped novels, how narrative experimentation was utilised, how illustrations were key to reception, and more, will shape our readings. Part of this module includes reading one novel in serial instalments across the entire year to slow down the process and reflect upon our reading experience, and this is done alongside other texts.
- Formative work (TBC).
- Intermediate students (EN2C2):
1 x 3,000 word essay (35%)
1 x 1,500 word Critical Reflection (15%)
1 x 3,500 word essay (50%)
1 x 3,500 word essay (35%)
1 x 1,500 word Critical Reflection (15%)
1 x 4,000 word essay (50%)
Visiting Students see the assessment information on this pageLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window.
Deadlines will be confirmed on your personal tabula.
Syllabus 2022-23 (confirmed)
In 2022-23 we will be reading one novel in serial instalments (Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby) that should not be read ahead of time. This will have a specific assessment - the critical reflection - tied to it. We will study C19th sources surrounding debates and theories on "the Novel" (and how novels should be read) and a range of novels.
In 2022-23 these novels will be: Maria Edgeworth's novel of manners, Belinda (1801/2); Walter Scott's historical romance, Ivanhoe (1819/1830); Elizabeth Gaskell's industrial novel, Mary Barton (1848); Charlotte Bronte's novel of psychology and sensation, Villette (1853); Charles Kingsley's children's novel, The Water Babies (1863); H. Rider Haggard's imperial romance, She: A History of Adventure (1887); George Gissing's reflection on the literary market-place, New Grub Street (1891); Thomas Hardy's grim novel about class and aspiration, Jude the Obscure (1895); and Henry James's scary novella, The Turn of the Screw (1898).
The primary novels to buy or source online are listed hereLink opens in a new window. Please pay attention to the edition notes.
The reading guidance for the first two novels, to help with what to look out for/note-taking can be found on the right-hand side of the weekly syllabus pageLink opens in a new window.
A weekly reading schedule (including a breakdown of serial instalments and small amounts of required critical reading) will be posted in September.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE:
The reading load on this module is comparatively heavy. Many of our books are in excess of 500 pages as this reflects the size of many key texts from the period. Although all large novels are split over at least 2 weeks of study, there is also weekly critical reading and the instalment of the serialised text. Students this year have found tactics such as audiobooks in consultation with the written text handy, and have fed back that the load was manageable.
Recommended Preparatory Reading over Summer
You will GREATLY benefit from doing some summer reading of at least the first two primary texts if you can. Ensure to get the correct editions and use the reading guidance.
In terms of secondary reading, the six chapters/articles I am offering below as further suggestions for the Summer will, without a doubt, help your understanding of some of the key issues and contexts we will discuss, and some of the different approaches we will take, across the module, and could be used at any time of the year if you don’t get a chance to read them in the coming summer months.
Some will be an easy read and some of the pieces you might find quite challenging – that’s okay, they *are* challenging and are meant to be. Take your time and makes notes.
- Terry Eagleton, “What is a Novel” from his monograph The English Novel: an introduction. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
- Edward Said, “Chapter Two: Consolidated Vision (I) Narrative and Social Space” from his monograph Culture and Imperialism, Chatto and Windus, 1994.
- Ronjaunee Chatterjee, et al. “Introduction: Undisciplining Victorian Studies.”
- David Sweeney Coombes, “Introduction” from his monograph Reading with the Senses in Victorian Literature and ScienceUniversity of Virginia Press, 2019.
- Joanne Shattock, “The Publishing Industry” in The Oxford History of the Novel in English: Volume 3: The Nineteenth-Century Novel 1820-1880, ed. John Kucich, and Jenny Bourne Taylor (Oxford, 2011; pubd online Mar. 2015), pp.3-21.
- Deborah Wynne, “Readers and Reading Practices” in The Oxford History of the Novel in English: Volume 3: The Nineteenth-Century Novel 1820-1880, ed. John Kucich, and Jenny Bourne Taylor (Oxford, 2011; pubd online Mar. 2015), pp.22-36.
You can also dip in and out of Companions and Handbooks such as the Oxford History of the English Novel Vol 2 (1750-1820) and Vol 3 (1820-1880) and the Oxford Handbook to the Victorian Novel which will help you contextualise genres and themes. If you are interested in learning about the development of the novel before 1800, then Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel (London, 1957) is a good place to begin.
Across the texts on this module, you will repeatedly come across (often casual) racist, xenophobic, sexist, classist slurs and attitudes. So too, allusions to potentially disturbing content such as sexual violence, violence (sometimes fatal) to others, suicide, animal cruelty, distressing scenes of death, are common. I want you to feel comfortable in talking to me about this one-on-one or in class. These are integral aspects of many texts and will at times be engaged with as part of our critical discourse.
LECTURES ARE ALL
The 2022/23 summer reading suggestions and primary novels to buy or source online are listed hereLink opens in a new window. Please pay attention to the edition notes.
The reading guidance for the first two novels (Belinda/Ivanhoe), to help with what to look out for/note-taking, can be found on the right-hand side of the weekly syllabus pageLink opens in a new window.